We made an important purchase today.
The Boy has been admiring, then polishing, then nagging after my admittedly rather large collection of shoes. He’s particularly enamoured by a couple of pairs of lovely Cheaney full brogues. They’re classics. Made in Northampton on a lovely long and elegant last, in a dark leaf calf leather. They’re fully fifteen years old and have been resoled a dozen times. Bought very early in my first years with a paycheque, before mortgages and car bills came along, they’ve been well looked after, shoe-treed and rotated, and polished frequently so that they’ve gained a lovely deep t0bacco patina. The red laces, a quirk of mine unashamedly copied from Fred Astaire (he wore baby pink laces with suede brogues, by the way), are objects of sartorial lust for this clever little fellow, a third of the age of the shoes they fasten.
A modern chap needs to have a number of milestones to pass all too fast towards. I’m determined that Grown Up Shoes should be part of that passage. It’s not that we don’t wear trainers. We do. For sport. But a gentleman, for that is what I hope he’ll be, knows that brogues are one of the finest things a man can have, good with almost everything between bermuda shorts at one extreme and a formal suit at the other end of the sartorial spectum. Although not including either, obviously, and not in London on a working weekday.
So off to the ‘Diff we went to buy The Boy his first brogues.
One fitting and one purchase later (he wouldn’t take them off to be zapped by a benevolently beaming store assistant) we repaired to the Central Market for scarlet laces, and popped in to show the blokes in the vintage gents’ outfitter stall. With red laces bought, leather stripped, then polished, and re-polished, they have now joined mine (and Mam’s) in a proud lineup for tomorrow.
Rite of Passage passed. He’ll learn to tie them up another time…